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Focus on Moments

Jon Sholter -


Today, in less than 5 minutes, we are going to cover the following:

How you can change an entire guest stay in a moment.


In our industry, we talk a lot about wowing guests. Going the extra mile and making a lasting impression. We do this for a good reason.

Wowing a guest can be a daunting task, how do you build this into your culture and ensure this happens consistently? What does going above and beyond mean? Are we looking for viral moments? What are the chances of a viral moment happening?

When you're thinking of going above and beyond from these perspectives, it can give you that "I wish" thought bubble. We can barely get new team members, let alone provide them with enough time to make a splash.

However, this is the cynic view and, luckily not the right one.

But first, why are moments so important?

From a hotel perspective, moments are the peak emotional times during the guest experience. When you look back on your time in life, do you remember every detail of every day? Do you remember your countless trips to the grocery store, to the gas station, do you remember your last hotel stay?

Probably not, most days and experiences are pretty unremarkable.

This is not necessarily a bad thing; many fantastic businesses and hotels simply deliver on their value promise, and they are hugely successful. Eliminating mistakes, mishaps and creating a smooth experience is a thing to strive for.

However, sometimes you need to make a dent and that's when focusing on moments comes into play.

When they survey guests of Disney World, they find survey results are significantly better a few weeks after the visit than the surveys during the visit. Why? Shouldn't customers be responding favourably when the fun times are fresh in their minds?

The truth is, when you go to Disney World it's not all rainbows. Maybe your daughter is crying because she dropped her ice cream or perhaps you're waiting in line for 45 minutes for that next ride.

But when you get home, do you remember all that? No, your daughter continually cries anyway and you're always stuck in traffic.

What you remember are those magical moments, the radiating smile on your child's face when they get a picture with Mickey Mouse or those one of a kind fireworks that put your town's fireworks to shame.

You see, those moments did something to you, they heightened your emotional state, and when your emotional state is elevated, you're going to remember forever. Hint, this is why problem resolution is so important.

So when are those emotional moments during your guest journey? Hotels can have different answers, but some may be:

  • Guest Arrival - the guest is stressed out about trying to find your hotel on the GPS, or just stressed with travel in general and nervous about their reservation. Whatever it might be, you usually have the guest's full attention at this time.

  • Problem Resolution - Your guests are guaranteed to remember the problem with their stay, so you need to make sure they remember the resolution.

  • Breaking through the mundane moments - There is a lot of time spent between check-in and check-out, is there one thing you can do to break through emotional mundane time to create a peak moment?

The list above is not comprehensive, but when you look at it, do you see how you can work peak moments into your processes instead of just looking for fairy tale opportunities?

Let's look at some practical examples and ideas:

Guest Arrival Why do brands preach member recognition? Because the guest is already in a heightened state of emotion upon arrival, if you do something to recognize them and they remember it, Boom.

Have you been to a hotel where the Guest Service Agent walks out from behind the desk to bid farewell to the guest as they deliver their room key? That was special...

Problem Resolution Does the guest feel like you care? Are you being cheap with your compensation? During a problem, you can get that guest back in the door. Why not offer them a free or heavily discounted night in the future? Only bookable through you. You now have control of this guest's stay, put some goodies in their room and do all you need to do to knock it out of the park.

Breaking through the mundane moments How about developing your Room Attendants to go out of their way to greet a guest meaningfully? Or why not have a system where VIP guests have gifts welcoming them in their rooms?

Word of caution, when you start to deliver on great consistent moments, your guests will come to expect it. If you have 5 star reviews, you must provide a great experience. However, don't be afraid, if you put the right processes in place and reinforce the culture to sustain, delivery becomes natural.

Many of the ideas above came from the Power of Moments by Chip & Dan Heath. It is recommended reading.


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